September 5, 2017

Portland rally calls for mandatory paid sick leave

A Labor Day rally in Portland kicked off a campaign calling on all employers in the city to provide earned paid sick leave for employees.

Maine Public reported that a proposed ordinance would allow workers to accrue up to six paid sick days a year. Rally organizers included the Southern Maine Workers' Center, Maine Women's Lobby and other groups. The campaign comes after the Maine Legislature failed to enact an earned sick time law in its last session.

"Universal earned paid sick time will improve the lives of workers, but will also improve public health, increase worker productivity and employee retention, and provide an economic safety net for working families," DrewChristopher Joy, executive director of Southern Maine Workers' Center in Portland, told the crowd.

Portland Mayor Ethan Strimling called the proposal a "basic human right" that also makes economic sense.

"I want the city Portland to be the most competitive city for workers in the state," he said. "So if a worker knows that they get a job in Portland that they will get paid time off, whereas if they go to a surrounding town they won't, I think that will make us more competitive for the best workers in the state."

If adopted, Portland would be the first municipality in Maine to mandate earned paid sick leave.


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